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Building CppCMS using Visual Studio

Introduction

In general build on Windows using Microsoft Visual Studio is quite complex due to several factors:

  1. Lack of easily accessible already build libraries in both debug and release variants for your MSVC version
  2. Need of strict debug/release separation

So in order to make your life while building CppCMS simpler I suggest following rules:

  1. Keep strict separation of debug and release installations and 32/64 bit architectures, for example

     c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug
     c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release
     c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Debug
     c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Release
    

    Note: pcre, icu and zlib support debug/release mangling of the libraries/dlls for debug/release flavor, but OpenSSL does not. So I strongly recommend to use separate trees to ensure safety.

  2. When building with CMake always use "NMake Makefiles" generator to prevent collisions of debug/release methods

  3. Start from basic dependencies zlib and pcre that can be built using CMake than go with more complex ones like OpenSSL and ICU if needed.

Before We Begin

Building Dependencies

  1. Install Visual Studio or Visual Studio build tools
  2. Install CMake, make sure it is in global path
  3. Install Python 2.x version, make sure it is in global path
  4. Optionally install git if you want to build upstream branches.

Checks: open cmd and try to run cmake, python and optionally git - see if it works.

And finally make sure the directories you are building in are not scanned by anti-virus - otherwise you may get some build failures - due to files being locked by AV.

Note: in all builds we will use Visual Studio console - open one for correct architecture.

For example:

I assume during this tutorial that you work in one of such a consoles.

Mandatory Dependencies

PCRE

PCRE comes with CMake build system, however building it correctly may be somewhat tricky.

Download the latest version of PCRE 8.x. Do not use PCRE2, it isn't supported.

Important options to note:

  1. Use "NMake Makefiles" generator, default generator is multi flavor one and much harder to use properly.
  2. Make sure you explicitly specify Release/Debug flavor -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release
  3. Build Shared version of PCRE (i.e. dll) -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON
  4. Make sure you put -DPCRE_SUPPORT_UNICODE_PROPERTIES=ON option on to enable utf-8 support - otherwise regex tests will fail

Step by step in the console:

Release:

cd \path\to\pcre\soures
mkdir msvc-release-x64
cd msvc-release-x64
cmake -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON  ^
  -DPCRE_SUPPORT_UNICODE_PROPERTIES=ON  ^
  -G"NMake Makefiles" ^
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ^
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release ^
  ..
nmake
nmake install
cd ..

Debug:

cd \path\to\pcre\soures
mkdir msvc-debug-x64
cd msvc-debug-x64
cmake -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON  ^
  -DPCRE_SUPPORT_UNICODE_PROPERTIES=ON ^
  -G"NMake Makefiles" ^
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ^
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug ^
  ..
nmake
nmake install
cd ..

zlib

Fortunately latest zlib versions come with CMake support making it much easier to build with Visual Studio.

  1. Use "NMake Makefiles" generator, default generator is multi version and much trickier to use.
  2. Make sure you explicitly specify Release/Debug flavor -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release
  3. Build Shared version of zlib (i.e. dll) -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON

Step by step:

Open Visual studio command prompt, for example x64 Native Tools Command Prompt for VS 2017 or x86 Native Tools Command Prompt for VS 2017 and change directory to location of zlib sources. Create build directory and run the commands:

For example for x64 build

Release

mkdir msvc-release-x64
cd msvc-release-x64
cmake -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON  ^
  -G"NMake Makefiles" ^
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ^
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release ^
  ..
nmake
nmake install
cd ..

Debug

mkdir msvc-debug-x64
cd msvc-debug-x64
cmake -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON ^
  -G"NMake Makefiles" ^
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ^
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug ^
  ..
nmake
nmake install
cd ..

Checking the build results.

After installation of PCRE and zlib you need to get structure like this:

c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\include
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\include\zlib.h
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\include\pcre.h
...
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\lib
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\lib\zlib.lib
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\lib\pcre.lib
...
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\bin
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\bin\zlib1.dll
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\bin\pcre.dll
...

c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\include
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\include\zlib.h
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\include\pcre.h
...
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\lib
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\lib\zlibd.lib
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\lib\pcred.lib
...
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\bin
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\bin\zlibd1.dll
c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\bin\pcred.dll

Note - the DLLs and libs with "d" suffix are placed in debug location.

Optional Dependencies

OpenSSL

Warning: OpenSSL does not mangle its Debug and Release flavors - so make sure you have a separate install prefix for two OpenSSL flavors and never mix them!

First of all you need to install perl as it is basic building and configuration tool. ActivePerl is recommended. Make sure it is in system path. Note: msys2 perl or cygwin perl does not work.

Note: Make sure you open correct MSVC console for x64 and x86 builds.

For 64 bit release build run the command:

perl Configure VC-WIN64A no-asm ^
  --prefix=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release ^
  --openssldir=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release

For 64 bit debug build run the command

perl Configure debug-VC-WIN64A no-asm ^
  --prefix=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release ^
  --openssldir=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release

For 32 bit release build run the command:

perl Configure VC-WIN32 no-asm ^
  --prefix=c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Release ^
  --openssldir=c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Release

For 32 bit debug build run the command

perl Configure debug-VC-WIN32 no-asm ^
  --prefix=c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Debug ^
  --openssldir=c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Debug

Afterwards run:

nmake
nmake install

And between flavors make sure you run

nmake distclean

Notes:

ICU

Several notes before building ICU on Windows.

  1. Don't use official builds from ICU website - it does not contain debug version and are build for only 1 specific MSVC versions.
  2. You can try get ready libraries there: https://www.npcglib.org/~stathis/blog/precompiled-icu/ however the site by not be updated or have variants for your version of MSVC.
  3. If you build ICU use cygwin/MSVC combination, do not use provided MSVC solution.

Using Downloadable binaries

You can get them there: https://www.npcglib.org/~stathis/blog/precompiled-icu

You need to put the include/bin/lib files to your tree according to correct paths debug/release and 32/64 bit. For example copy following:

Headers:

icu-59.1-vs2017/include/unicode -> 
   c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\include\unicode
   c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\include\unicode
   c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Release\include\unicode
   c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Debug\include\unicode

Import Libraries:

icu-59.1-vs2017/include/lib/*d.lib -> 
   c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Debug\lib
icu-59.1-vs2017/include/lib/*.lib ->  # without d
   c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Release\lib
icu-59.1-vs2017/include/lib64/*d.lib -> 
   c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\lib
icu-59.1-vs2017/include/lib64/*.lib ->  # without d
    c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\lib

DLLs:

    icu-59.1-vs2017/include/bin/*d59.dll -> 
       c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Debug\bin
    icu-59.1-vs2017/include/bin/*59.dll ->  # without d
       c:\cppcms_deps\x86\Release\bin
    icu-59.1-vs2017/include/bin64/*d59.dll -> 
       c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\bin
    icu-59.1-vs2017/include/bin64/*59.dll ->  # without d
       c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\bin

This may save you the hassle of building ICU.

Building ICU

Note instructions are based on instructions from there: https://wiki.qt.io/Compiling-ICU-with-MSVC

Steps to build:

  1. Download icu-xx-src.zip. Note zip, not tgz. The tgz does not contain all files for Windows build
  2. Install cygwin - only basic packages are needed: make, dos2unix and binutils.
  3. Open Visual Studio console and configure path to location of cygwin\bin directory, so bash and other tools will be accessible:

     set PATH=%PATH%;c:\cygwin\bin
    

    This way you can run cygwin commands from MSVC command line

  4. Go to source directory of the icu package and fix line encodings, otherwise bash will not work:

     dos2unix *
     dos2unix -f configure
    
  5. For release build run:

     bash runConfigureICU ^
       Cygwin/MSVC ^
       --prefix=/cygdrive/c/cppcms_deps/x64/Release
     make
     make install
     make distclean
    

    Distclean will allow to run debug configuration smoothly. Node cygwin style path to installation location: /cygdrive/c/cppcms_deps/x64/Release

  6. For debug build run

     bash runConfigureICU ^
       --enable-debug --disable-release ^
       Cygwin/MSVC ^
       --prefix=/cygdrive/c/cppcms_deps/x64/Debug
     make
     make install
     make distclean
    

    Note --enable-debug --disable-release must go before Cygwin/MSVC - otherwise you'll get release binaries

  7. Note, the installation script installs dlls to the same location as lib, so you need to move them from c:\cppcms_deps\x64\(Release|Debug)\lib to c:\cppcms_deps\x64\(Release|Debug)\bin

Now you have working ICU.

Building CppCMS

Several notes when building using MSVC:

  1. Only "NMake Makefiles" generator is supported
  2. You need to specify -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug or -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo explicitly since default is Debug for MSVC.
  3. You also recommend to add -DDISABLE_STATIC=ON since on Windows only dll version allows to build dynamically loadable views and use plugins.

So open the VS console, go to cppcms source directory and run configuration and build:

Release

Release build

mkdir msvc-x64-rel
cd msvc-x64-rel
cmake -G "NMake Makefiles" ^
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo ^
  -DDISABLE_STATIC=ON ^
  -DCMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\include ^
  -DCMAKE_LIBRARY_PATH=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\lib ^
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release ^
  ..
nmake 

Testing:

set PATH=%PATH%;c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Release\bin;.\booster\
nmake test 

Installation:

nmake install

Debug

Debug build

mkdir msvc-x64-deb
cd msvc-x64-deb
cmake -G "NMake Makefiles" ^
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug^
  -DDISABLE_STATIC=ON ^
  -DCMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\include ^
  -DCMAKE_LIBRARY_PATH=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\lib ^
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug ^
  ..
nmake 

Testing:

set PATH=%PATH%;c:\cppcms_deps\x64\Debug\bin;.\booster\
nmake test 

Installation:

nmake install

And now start development using CppCMS

References

  1. http://developer.covenanteyes.com/building-openssl-for-visual-studio/
  2. https://wiki.qt.io/Compiling-ICU-with-MSVC
  3. https://www.npcglib.org/~stathis/blog/precompiled-icu/

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For more details, visit our website: commercial.cppcms.com

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